Close to Shore by Michael Capuzzo

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline: Here’s another reason never to go to New Jersey.

Quick synopsis: The story of a rogue shark which terrified the New Jersey Shore in 1916.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like: Ever wonder why when you watch an old movie all the telephone operators are ladies? Turns out, it started out as an all-male job. However, men were too argumentative and were replaced quickly by women who got along with the callers better. Cue a million women saying, “See?”

Fun Fact for History Nerds: When female sharks give birth, their bodies automatically depress their hunger. The reason? To give baby sharks a chance to swim away before mom tries to eat them.

My Take: Jaws was way closer to reality than I thought.

In 1916, people were just minding their business when a rogue shark started eating people right on the Jersey Shore. Unlike today when it seems like these incidents are more random and the shark is usually confused more than trying to kill, this shark was an absolute psycho.

Without giving too much away, this shark does more than attack people with crazy frequency. He also did something I didn’t even know great whites could do.

Capuzzo tells a great story and keeps you guessing throughout. He gives stories on some of the victims and near victims without slowing down the narrative. However, he does make you feel very bad for those left behind. As with any book like this, the villain is the most fascinating and the shark lives up to the hype.

Great summer read book. Unless you plan on going into the water, that is.

Verdict: Great book for anyone. Reads like a novel but is all true.

If You Liked This Try:

  • Spike Walker, Coming Back Alive
  • Michael Tougias and Casey Sherman, The Finest Hours
  • Nathaniel Philbrick, In the Heart of the Sea
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Close to Shore by Michael Capuzzo
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